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More on the BTA’s plans without Karl Rohde

Posted by on April 6th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

BTA veteran Doug Parrow will
help bolster legislative efforts
in Karl Rohde’s departure.
(Photos © J. Maus)

I got in touch with BTA executive director Scott Bricker today to ask him about how their recent shift in personnel would impact their 2009 legislative agenda.

On Friday, I reported that the BTA’s government relations and public affairs director Karl Rohde had been abruptly let go, just as the legislative session was heating up. Earlier today, I reported that Bricker had already stepped into Rohde’s role as the BTA’s sole lobbyist in Salem (a role that Bricker had done for years before coming the executive director in 2007).

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I wanted to learn more about what the Rohde situation meant for the BTA. What does Rohde’s departure mean for the BTA’s legislative efforts this session? Would Bricker step into the lobbyist/PR role full-time? If so, would the BTA search for a new leader? Would Bricker try to do both jobs simultaneously?

“I don’t intend to comment on personnel matters. I want to focus on our strategy moving forward.”
– Scott Bricker, BTA executive director

Bricker assured me via telephone today from Salem that the BTA’s legislative efforts would not miss a beat in Rohde’s absence. Bricker noted that not only will he serve the BTA’s interest in Salem (as their “longtime lobbyist”) but he’ll be joined in his efforts by the most senior member of their organization, Doug Parrow. Parrow is chair of the BTA’s legislative committee (he has served on that committee since 1997), and he’s their longest serving board member whose involvement with the organization goes back to it earliest days.

Bricker says Parrow is a legal expert (although not a lawyer) who is now retired and has committed to spending 20 hours a week helping the BTA’s legislative efforts. (It also helps that Parrow lives in the Salem/Keizer area).

In addition to Parrow, Bricker said other members of the legislative committee will “continue to be very active” and he also shared that the BTA has just signed a contract with a Confluence Consulting LLC. Confluence is the well-known environmental issue lobbying firm of Sue Marshall and David Moscowitz (they also represent the Coalition for a Livable Future, among others).

As for juggling the dual roles of executive director and lobbyist, Bricker said that in the next three months of the session, they’ll look to hire immediately for an interim position to help with advocacy projects, media relations, and so on.

After the session is over, Bricker will take a longer look at the BTA’s staffing situation and possibly look to hire another full-time staffer.

Not surprisingly, Bricker declined to comment specifically on why Karl Rohde is no longer on his staff. “I don’t intend to comment on personnel matters,” he said, “I want to focus on our strategy moving forward.”

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Comments
  • Jessica Roberts April 6, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Doug is extremely knowledgeable about legislative issues and he has been working on the BTA’s agenda for years. I am sure he will be a huge asset.

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  • Jonathan Maus April 6, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    New blog post: More on the BTA’s plans without Karl Rohde http://bikeportland.org/2009/04/06/more-on-the-btas-plans-without-karl-rohde/

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  • steve April 7, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Rohde was one of the bright spots at the BTA. We should all be dismayed at his loss. How anyone is able to work with Bricker and Poyourow is beyond me. Personality conflicts.. What a joke!

    I am surprised he was able to last this long.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 7, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Rohde made two obvious missteps in calling for a tax on bicycles and in not lining up more support for the ID stop law (e.g., City of Eugene).

    But, because noone will talk about this, we are left with the impression that BTA just summarily fires its employees without specifying why. This just makes the powers that be at BTA look mean — did a long-time employee deserve such treatment?

    I don’t know, but once again BTA seems unaware (or unconcerned) of how they look to the public.

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  • Robert Dobbs April 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Cautiously optimistic.

    Rhodes blew the Idaho Stop law pretty badly, so can’t say I’m sad to see him go.

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  • Machu Picchu April 7, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Following the links, we see just how tentative this thing was from the start: according to “the BTA’s Interim Executive Director Scott Bricker they’re set to hire former Lake Oswego City Councilor Karl Rohde to the newly created position of Interim Governmental/Public Affairs Director.”

    That’s about a year and a half ago. a little more. Long enough to Make Your Mark at the BTA? Depends on the mark you want to make. Or the mark that’s expected of you. Bricker (then in an interim position, like Rhode) spoke of Rhode’s political savvy.

    Apparently Bricker’s political savvy now exceeds Rhode’s, and he will put things right. What a difference a couple of years make.

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